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Kolyma Diaries: A Journey into Russia's Haunted Hinterland [Kindle Edition]

Jacek Hugo-Bader , Antonia Lloyd-Jones
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £16.99
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Book Description

From the author of the award-winning White Fever, Kolyma Diaries is an excursion into one of the world's last remaining badlands, a place full of Gulag ghosts and living wrecks. All along the 2000 kilometres of the Kolyma highway, Bader is plied with vodka. He hears mesmerizing, sometimes devastating, tales of the journeys that brought his 'fellow travellers', the people who give him lifts, to this benighted land. This is a book about the descendants of prisoners eking out a living, of conmen and veterans and scrap iron dealers, of corrupt politicians and organised crime. Stories are told of sons given away, husbands who reappear after three decades, scholars who now survive by foraging for mushrooms and berries, sculptors who hoard the heads lopped off statues of Lenin, miners who dig up mass graves while looking for gold, and all the addicts, convicts, fallen heroes and even sportsmen who run away from their troubles and end up in the most remote region in Russia.


Product Description

Review

'One of the most memorable travel books I have read, sometimes hilarious and sometimes almost unbearably sad stories of death, courage, cruelty and vodka. Jacek Hugo-Bader has travelled in some of the strangest and most remote reaches of Siberia, but what he has brought back are stories of the furthest reaches of the human spirit. Magnificent' --Andrew Brown, author of Fishing in Utopia

'Hugo-Bader's journey through the bleak suspended reality of Kolyma is a pilgrimage like no other. The cumulative effect on the reader of his stark diary entries is overwhelming. In a place where the cold itself is murderous, every chance meeting is at once a moral encounter with the Soviet legacy of cruelty and loss, and a source of primal warmth. Kolyma Diaries is a powerful and courageous work of witness - often funny, always unflinching in its confrontation with human sorrow' --Rachel Rolonsky, author of Molotov's Magic Lantern

'As in his previous book White Fever (2011), Hugo-Bader extracts brilliant tales from the extraordinary characters he meets (and drinks with) along the way. The result is a staggering, eye-opening account of a hellish region' --Financial Times

'I have never read a book that more purely captures the strangeness of travel in remote bits of Russia. It is a fascinating composite impression of one of the wildest bits of one of the world's weirdest countries. And it is told by a masterful traveller in the very best Polish tradition' **** --Daily Telegraph

'Powerful stuff, written by a man who seems to be the natural heir to Ryszard Kapuscinski' --'Best new travel titles', Conde Nast Traveller

'Hugo-Bader has a remarkable ability to get close to this array of individuals and to unearth their extraordinary stories. He succeeds in bringing them to life with his funny, engaging, thought-provoking prose. Kolyma Diaries is an excellent read for anyone interested in understanding the grim legacy of the gulags but also how the human spirit can flourish in the bleakest areas' --Socialist Review

'It is a testament to Hugo-Bader's skill and the strength of his subjects that the book is not only charming, but life-affirming. Its primary concerns are not flashy villains or remembered horror, but ordinary people' --Wall Street Journal

'Hugo-Bader has a remarkable ability to get close to this array of individuals and to unearth their extraordinary stories. He succeeds in bringing them to life with his funny, engaging, thought-provoking prose. Kolyma Diaries is an excellent read for anyone interested in understanding the grim legacy of the gulags but also how the human spirit can flourish in the bleakest areas' --Socialist Review

'A rich gallery of characters with gripping stories to tell' --Travel book of the year chosen by Tom Adair, Scotsman

'Hugo-Bader has a remarkable ability to get close to this array of individuals and to unearth their extraordinary stories. He succeeds in bringing them to life with his funny, engaging, thought-provoking prose. Kolyma Diaries is an excellent read for anyone interested in understanding the grim legacy of the gulags but also how the human spirit can flourish in the bleakest areas' --Socialist Review

About the Author

Born in 1957, JACEK HUGO-BADER is a Polish journalist for the leading daily paper, Gazeta Wyborcza. An unconventional traveller, he has biked across Central Asia, the Gobi Desert, China and Tibet, and has kayaked across Lake Baikal. His journey by jeep from Moscow to Vladivostok in the winter of 2007 is described in his last book, White Fever. ANTONIA LLOYD-JONES's translations include work by Jacek Hugo-Bader, Artur Domoslawski, and Jacek Dehnel. She won the Found in Translation Award 2008 for her translation of Pawel Huelle's The Last Supper, and again in 2013 for having seven translations published in a single year. She is a mentor for the British Centre for Literary Translation's mentorship programme.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3741 KB
  • Print Length: 295 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books (3 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GPDN5BM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #148,124 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read and entertaining - a view into a ... 4 Sept. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One Polish writer's journey into the Russian hinterland. Easy to read and entertaining - a view into a world I will probably never get to visit, but which interests me greatly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The road to hell that is paved with bones. 29 Dec. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an astonishing account of a journey through one of the utmost extremities on earth: the far east of Siberia, where distances are so great, and the terrain so hostile, that its inhabitants feel trapped on a vast island. "Mainland Russia" - to them - is a distant country, separated by a succession of wide rivers, mountain ranges and thousands of miles of taiga wilderness.
The author, who prefers to travel rough, meets a succession of eccentrics, hunters, resilient women, mineral diggers, desperadoes and gold-toothed gangland bosses-turned-local-bigwigs, as he hitches lifts, in stages, from Magadan to Yakutsk. He hears their life stories, and learns about the true horrors experienced by the two million prisoners of Stalin's Gulag concentration camps, most of whom died along the Kolyma highway, known appropriately as the Road of Bones. He discovers what it takes to survive road trips in Siberia in winter, when the temperature drops to minus fifty. If the cold doesn't get you, bears, bandits or packs of feral dogs, might. He visits former mining settlements - now virtual ghost towns - where those left behind subsist on barter, hunting, rotten diets and vodka in a personal hell of their own making. It's eye-opening and riveting stuff, and I'll be reading it all again before long.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hugo-Bader writes in a clear, lucid manner and the bizaare setting of Russia's remote, frrozen landscape and its tragic but invariably interesting inhabitants does the rest. You get a great insight into an alien world and an insight too into the the rather morbidly patriotic Russian psyche. A good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Siberia today and Yesterday 6 Nov. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A fascinating account of a journey across post-communist Siberia. I t describes both the present day world and the recollections of the survivors of the gulags from stalinist days.
A very interesting read.
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By Tomasz
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Amazing stories giving the insight to the society so different from what we know. So traumatised. How to live in such place. Or maybe that's the only place to live after such trauma.
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